Becoming the Parent of a Child with a Disability
It was a cold February night when I started to have contractions. I was 26 years old and this was my third child so I went downstairs and laid on the couch so my husband could get as much sleep as possible before we needed to go into the hospital. It wasn’t long however before I had to wake him up and convince him that yes, it was three weeks early but yes, I knew for sure I was in labor.
Delivery was quick and easy and when the doctor announced it was a girl, I wept. My husband was the fourth born in a string of six boys. There had not been a female born into the family for a long time and our two oldest were boys. We hadn’t even been “trying for a girl” as some people had assumed.
“A girl!” I cried out. “We have a girl!”
I immediately began wondering if she would look more like me or her father? Would she get his height and colouring? Or would she take after me? I would finally get to discover what a female offspring of mine would look like.
Then We Become Parents of a Child with a Disability
The joy and elation were short lived as before the day was out, the doctor informed us that they were running tests to check for Down Syndrome. I was terrified and had no idea what that would mean. I recall asking the paediatrician what her potential would be in life. He gave me a gift more precious than I can say when he responded
“When your sons were born, did you know their potential? The same is true for your daughter, we don’t know her full potential.”
Right from that point, we decided we would raise her the same as our boys. We would expect the most and be proud of who she is. We took her everywhere, we loved her and shared our joy with everyone.
As she grew older, if there was anything she wanted to do, we tried to help her make it happen. She wanted to go on a zipline? With my heart in the pit of my stomach, I watched her climb the tower, cross the rope bridge and zip down to the ground. She wanted to go on a missions trip? I went with her to help her control her diabetes. She always wanted to model so with the generosity and help of friends, we gave her a full modelling shoot.
When our Princess decided she wanted to write a book, I asked her what she wanted to write about and she responded “My life!”. Ok, then, lets make this happen!
The result is a book that is as unique as my daughter. Some of the words are simple and straight forward but they are only the surface of some very profound thoughts.
I’m so happy to be her mother and I am so proud of the wonderful, independent and capable young woman she has become. In short, becoming the parent of a child with a disability has been a blessing.
I had a blog when my daughter was transitioning into adulthood and you can read more about it. – Carla